Here We Go Again
In the very best of ways. Starting at 9:00 on Saturday, you can fall back into that old healthful and enjoyable habit of turning up in the Lansdowne Avenue parking lot (reusable shopping bags in tow), perusing and purchasing the freshest produce and goods around, catching up with friends and neighbors, listening to live music, and just generally chillin'. Call it Farmers Market Therapy, and it's the best thing for recovering from the isolation of the long winter and for detoxing from the Doritos and Tastykakes that seemed like such a good idea at the time. (We believe the antidote is a half pound of leafy greens per 3 oz of highly processed thing you know you shouldn't have eaten but did anyway.)
For opening day of the Lansdowne Farmers Market, we've invited all the 2011 vendors to show up all at once, so you can get a (literal) taste of everything. (Everyone is expected except
Turning Roots Farm, which will join us in a week or two when more of their produce will be ready.) Several of our vendors will be at the Market only every other week or once a month after opening day, so check the vendor schedule each week to know who to expect, and from that you can extrapolate what to expect.
How does the idea of five brand new vendors grab ya?
The Lansdowne Table: This is the weekly Farmers Market incarnation of -- wait for it -- Sycamore, you know, that happening little BYOB up Lansdowne Avenue that keeps getting accolades and winning awards and that everyone seems so surprised to find in Lansdowne of all places! (What, do they think we're savages here?) Despite the name, owners Steve and Jennifer and chef Sam won't be offering table service at the Market, but they will make available homemade marinades, spice blends, tapenades, olive mixes, and other gourmet items that will make dining at home a more sublime experience than you thought possible.
Green Aisle Grocery: When we found out that our previous meat vendor was shutting down, we despaired of finding another until Green Aisle (owners Andrew and Adam and Market worker Mica) stepped up to the plate to offer the same beef, pork, lamb, chicken, pastured eggs, and raw milk from local farmers that they sell in their little grocery store in South Philly and at another FM or two. Look for grass-fed flank steaks, rib eyes, and dry-aged New York strips; bone-in pork chops and whole pork tenderloins; five varieties of links from Renaissance Sausage, a food truck that crafts its own sausage with local, pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats; and $1 off when you buy 2 lb of burgers or ground beef ($15 instead of $16). Green Aisle will be on site every week.
Great Harvest Bread Company: Expanding the options for carb loading at the Market, Darren and Debbie from Great Harvest will be bringing a variety of fresh-baked products every Saturday, with a whole grain and specialty bread menu that changes monthly, plus trail mix, granola, and croutons.
Made in the Shade Lemonade: When the sun starts turning the parking lot into a roast pan, what's more refreshing than lemonade? This year, we've added a dedicated weekly vendor of that favorite summer elixir. Here's what owner Aldo has to say: "We are Made in the Shade Lemonade, with a twist of lime makes it come out fine. Squozen and mixed one at a time and to order! Sweetened with agave or Stevia. Grab a classic or add a fresh infusion of ginger, cucumber-mint, or mixed berry blend. Available by the 20 oz cup or kids cup. You got it . . . Made in the Shade!" What we say: "Yummmmm."
Yellow Springs Farm: From a farm in Chester Springs where the goats eat organic grains and local hay, and where antibiotics or hormones are not used in managing the milking herd, we're eagerly anticipating spreadable chevres made with farm-grown herbs, in flavors that include plain, basil pesto, honey and sage, garlic pepper, and Italian herbs. Catherine will also be bringing Bliss, a ripened goat cheese made in a French tradition that is a "cousin" of brie. All YSF cheeses are made with vegetable rennet (good news for vegetarians) and sea salt. Look for them the third Saturday of each month. (Later in the season, they'll have caramel and truffles made from goat milk -- imagine!)
As nice as new can be, there's something special about old friends.
Fruitwood Farms: You know them, you love them. This week: strawberries, asparagus, sugar snap peas, and zucchini, all grown by Mike and company in Monroeville, New Jersey, plus their wonderful honey (and not a moment too soon -- we're fresh out at home).
Schober Orchards: Until the apples and peaches come in, look to Darlene and the crew at Schober's stand for their unparalleled peach cider, fruit butters, and fruit salsas, plus firewood, nursery plants, and perhaps some organic greens.
Harvest Local Foods: Lansdowne's favorite purveyor of locally procured produce, meats, and pantry items that can be delivered to your door. Pam and Mary Ann are sending all kinds of stuff to Market on Saturday: lettuces, cooking greens, mushrooms, scallions and radishes, rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus, an assortment of cheeses, dips, pasture-raised eggs, raw milk, yogurts, pasture-raised meats, pickled beets, pasta sauce, hot sauce, salsa, sauerkraut, maple syrup, honey, sesame sticks, blue tortilla chips, and soda. For starters. Their van is a regular clown car of edibles. Plus, like the Market itself, Harvest Local is having its fifth anniversary and they're celebrating with a special farm dinner next weekend. Go
here for all the information about the dinner, and
here to see a recent mention in the Inquirer.
Bonnie's Wondergardens: You know -- Bonnie's. Plants and flowers and hanging baskets and wreaths and other pretty things that you probably shouldn't eat unless it's an herb. The literal bright spot of the LFM.
Regency Cafe and Bakeshop: George and Shirley are the best in the borough at getting your day off to a sweet, caffeinated start. The Regency Market stand always has coffee, muffins, scones, Danishes, cookies, Metropolitan bread, and other favorites for breakfasting al fresco. But you knew that, right?
Provisions: Oh, Marnie, how we've missed you! Promise you'll be there bright and early with berry pies, shortcakes, Le Bus breads, and other baked goods, plus drinks, soups, salads, and breakfast burritos and crepes cooked to order, and we'll know you haven't forsaken us! (And if you bring those meat rubs you mentioned, all is forgiven.)
John's MiniTreats: John's been hard at work making possibly the most decadent item at the Market, his chocolate pots de creme, along with Guinness-flavored cheesecake bars (now that sounds like a great Father's Day idea), plus quarts of frozen chicken or mushroom stock. And before you panic, yes, he'll have red wine chili and mushroom soup, plenty of it. It's not just for breakfast anymore, so take a quart home.
B.T. Baking: You may recall B.T. from the verrrrrry end of the 2010 Market, and we're happy as can be to have them back every other week for 2011 (alternating with MyHouse). Todd and Kestra will be bringing the same high-quality brownies made from organic and fair-trade ingredients in a variety of permutations (like regular chocolate, cookie brownie, and peanut butter) to the Market that they sell in their Marshall Road storefront as well as at a number of other respectable venues throughout the area.
Wentworth Dairy: Simply delicious cheddar and Colby cheeses, plus wonderful butter, from a dairy farm in southern Chester County. After opening day, look for Bonnie the first Saturday of each month. (And try to convince her to bring her ice cream truck for Kidcentric Day!)
Spotted Hill Farm: Donna's Nubian goat milk soaps are made with
great ingredients, smell divine, and make your skin feel like buttah. We are addicted. Spotted Hill will be in Lansdowne the first and third Saturdays of every month.
Welcome Baby: Heather is a doula who makes lotions and potions and other accoutrements to aid personal health and comfort. Got an ache? She probably has a product to help with it. After opening day, she'll be at the Market once a month, on the third Saturday.
Food for All
Let's get going on restocking the Community Food Bank from day one. Bring your bags of nonperishables to the Market Manager tent this week and we'll give you a Market Buck for being so generous. Please focus, if you will, a little less on what's in your pantry that you don't want (since maybe nobody wants it) and a bit more on what the food bank actually needs, like pasta, sauce, rice, peanut butter, dried milk, cereal, baby food, and the like. Next time you throw a box of pasta or a jar of peanut butter in your shopping cart for your family, toss in a couple for the food bank too. We'll be collecting regularly throughout the season.
Make New Memories on Memorial Day
You can run, you can walk, you can volunteer to help. It's all good at the
Lansdowne Memorial Day 5K coming up Monday morning (cuz that's Memorial Day!). We're expecting well over 300 participants to make their way over a course that moseys all around Lansdowne, and there's nothing wrong with moseying through the race yourself as long as you're not trying to win. Plug into an iPod or bring a friend to yak with and just do it; even at a sashay pace, it shouldn't take more than an hour. This year there will be live music in the parking lot by the band
Scintillations, as well as a new prize or two.
After the race, stick around for Lansdowne's Memorial Day Parade, which is best described as both patriotic and darling, the former for how it pays tribute to veterans of foreign wars, the latter for its diminutive size and charming honorees. Attend the postparade ceremonies at the high school football field off Essex to further support the noble men and women who have fought for their -- our -- country.
A good breakfast is its own kind of memorable. Get one Monday morning from 9:30 am to noon for a mere $6 at the Lansdowne Baptist Church on the corner of Lansdowne and LaCrosse Avenues. Pancakes, sausage, coffee, OJ, all that good stuff. And congratulations to the church's Pastor Dave, who was featured in
this article last week in the Inquirer about his devotion to gardening (heck, producing 500 lb of vegetables might count as farming).
Earth Saturday Heads-Up!
As for the past few years, the LFM has at least one special event planned for every month, and the first for 2011 is next week's Earth Saturday. Possibly the most low-key of the special events (no squawking parrots and a minimum of barking dogs), Earth Saturday might also be the closest to the heart of the Market itself -- an appreciation and celebration of parks and plants, a reminder about recycling, reusing, and reducing. More details on the guests and events will come next week (or look for a handout this Saturday), but two things bear mentioning now since they require you to come prepared.
First, the perennial plant exchange. This is absolutely as simple as it sounds: bring some outdoor plants you are done with or have spares of -- potted and labeled as best you can (really, spend a couple minutes on this) -- and take a plant someone else has brought. It's a one-for-one dealio. The exchange itself will start at 10:00 and run until noon. In the last hour of the Market, any plants that have not been claimed can be purchased for a nominal sum.
Second, the talented Marty von Rosenstiel of
MVRGlass and the Art of Recycling Lansdowne will be offering a taste of the "Making Things with Marty" classes she leads at
Art Space Lansdowne in which stuff that would otherwise end up in the trash is turned into handicrafts you'll be proud to display and say you made. She's planning an adult craft and a kid craft for Earth Saturday, each of which will take 20 to 30 minutes to make (perhaps longer if you're a perfectionist). Though Marty is bringing supplies, she invites you to save and bring the following to use in your craft (or to donate for others to use), in part because it's a good reminder of how much stuff gets tossed routinely: CDs, shiny foil chip bags, the long twist ties that come off grocery store produce, coffee cans, bottle caps, and a magazine or catalog you're done with.
Oh, one last Earth Saturday thing that might require a little preparation:
Animal Friends of Lansdowne is coming with kittens. Kittens, people. Think about it, discuss it, and maybe you can come to the Market ready to adopt. How great would that be for all involved parties?